Allow me to let you in on a little secret: I'm a feminist. Now I'm not referring to the overused, much maligned (and incorrect) descriptions of this term—no bra burners or male chauvinist pigs commentary intended whatsoever. Being a feminist has nothing to do with male bashing and everything to do with gender equality. My definition of feminism is one that sees women as equally capable to succeed in their chosen paths as anyone else. As a husband and the father of two teenage daughters, I know a thing or two or three about women. My wife, Susan Chinn Amaturo, is a full-time working mother, and my two daughters are stepping into their young adult lives with their own hopes, goals and dreams. They are strong, determined and resilient.
So my definition is one that sees beyond one's gender—or race or creed—and recognizes that we can all be better off by allowing others to mutually contribute to the launch of a new product, the development of a team, or the completion of a complex task. I'll pay every dollar necessary to engage the help I need in my organizations to be the best we can be. I don't care and I don't count who's white, who’s black, who’s female, who’s gay or straight when I evaluate my team. Hiring is tough enough. Don't we all just want the best we can find these days? Why should an aspect of someone's life that’s completely out of his or her control such as gender or skin color interfere with self-determination? I support, encourage and further everyone’s right to determine his or her own path. I'll bet you do, too.
A short article written last year by Carolyn Dalton helped me clarify the often-misunderstood term “feminist.” Carolyn sees the common stereotypes portrayed in movies and culture as misleading to what defines masculinity and femininity. And while the workplace should be an even playing field, well-intended leaders of all stripes fall into these stereotypical traps about their people, and let’s face it, sometimes themselves. For example, men don't need to maintain 100 percent control, avoid showing emotion or vulnerability to be “real men.” And women don't need to nurture others before themselves, accommodate rudeness or accept the support of others to be "real women.”
These toxic stereotypes don't serve us. And they certainly aren't the characteristics that launched America's most successful women. Not even close. There’s Ruth Porat, chief financial officer of Google; Marillyn Hewson, chief executive officer of Lockheed Martin; and Mary Barra, chairman and chief executive officer of General Motors. These women may have some (or none) of these characteristics, but their skills and ability to consistently improve and build upon ideas from concept to reality are what propelled them into corporate success.
This month's issue focuses on our own female leaders in the North Bay—from the first responders of the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department in Santa Rosa during the October firestorm, to everyday working moms, to women winemakers in Napa and Sonoma. We've got a diverse lineup of strong, engaging women leaders in business who are making important contributions for us all.
Coincidentally (and only coincidentally, by the way), we've drawn upon these five feature stories from an all-female staff of contributing writers led by our tireless editor, Karen Hart. And one of our newest teammates, Paula Peterson, contributed in her role as our new general sales manager. The annual “Women Business Leaders” issue is a celebration of women in the workforce that is well supported by our readers—both male and female. That speaks volumes to what we’re accomplishing here in the North Bay.
Enjoy this month’s issue, and thank you for your support. Ladies and gentlemen, we couldn't have done it without you. And that's just the way we hope it'll always be.
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